Saturday, May 03, 2014

Obama fails to do justice

US President Barrack Obama was welcome with much fanfare when he dropped into KL last week and he met the Agong, the prime minister and cabinet ministers. There was so much hype over his visit created by the mainstream media.

Over in the internet, the social media was flooded with calls from the people urging Obama to meet with the opposition leader and the forefront fighter for justice, Anwar Ibrahim. However, despite the overwhelming calls from the public, Obama failed to meet with Anwar, causing a lot of disappointment.

He tried to make good by saying he is still concerned about Anwar and delegated the task of meeting him to his national security adviser. His calls in support of the minorities in the country were welcome but words alone may be useless as we all know.

Malaysia is totally different as compared to many other developed countries where the opposition is given due recognition. Here the legitimate opposition elected by over 52% of the electorate in peaceful elections are undemocratically denied its rights to rule.

The opposition is harassed and its leaders charged in courts with dubious accusations just to intimidate them. They are treated like terrorists and anti nationals when it has better policies and plans for the development of the people and the country with varied ethnicity.

Anwar is no ordinary man, he managed to come from prison and work his way up to bring together three opposition parties and mount a strong challenge to a regime firmly rooted for over 50 years. Blatant abuse of power, corruption and increasing threats communal violence became rampant and were threatening the peaceful coexistence of the various races.

At a time of great despair and helplessness, Anwar gave Malaysians some hope for change for the better. However, these hopes are fast eluding us with the prospect of him being jailed again for a crime which cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Obama would have done justice for the people and democracy if only he had the courage to acknowledge Anwar on behalf of the the suppressed and bullied opposition, its leaders and more so for the sake of democracy which he claims to promote throughout the world. It is sad and disappointing that he chose to come here for reasons other than to serve the interests of the people.

Obama’s statement on need for equality for non-Muslim minorities in the country may be intended to help democracy in Malaysia. But it has already been condemned by many Malay and Muslims rights groups who vigorously deny there is such inequality.

Whether his statements will help to correct the inequality and injustice in the country or make it worse depends to be seen. But the undeniable fact that we must take to heart is that desirable change in the country can only be brought by the citizens themselves.

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